There has been much research done over the past 20 years on Autism, PDD, [...]
Asperger’s: What is Asperger’s?
Asperger’s is a type of pervasive development disorder (PDD) which falls under the category of Autism Spectrum Disorder, (ASD). Although Asperger’s is similar in some ways to autism, a more severe type of PDD, there are essential differences. Children with Asperger’s typically function at a higher level than those with autism. In addition, children with Asperger’s typically have normal intelligence and near-normal language development; however, these children may develop communication problems as they get older.
Asperger’s and Brain Function:
Children and adolescents who demonstrate symptoms of Asperger’s are often dealing with both neurological and environmental factors that contribute to their behavior. Research has shown that, absent of brain injury, involvement of the temporal and/or occipital lobes are often seen in the qEEG. With the qEEG or Brain Map as an assessment tool, we can see the electrical activity of the brain. We can then determine where and how the dysregulation occurs allowing us to develop treatment protocols to put the brain back into balance without medication.
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Asperger’s and Common Symptoms:
The symptoms of Asperger’s vary and can range from mild to severe. Common symptoms include:
- Problems with social skills: Children with this condition generally have difficulty interacting with others and often are awkward in social situations. They generally do not make friends easily.
- Eccentric or repetitive behaviors: Children with this condition may develop odd, repetitive movements, such as hand wringing or finger twisting.
- Unusual preoccupations or rituals: A child with this condition may develop rituals that he or she refuses to alter, such as getting dressed in a specific order.
- Communication difficulties: People with this condition may not make eye contact when speaking with someone. They may have trouble using facial expressions and gestures, and understanding body language. They also tend to have problems understanding language in context.
- Limited range of interests: A child with this condition may develop an intense, almost obsessive, interest in a few areas, such as sports schedules, weather, or maps.
- Coordination problems: The movements of children with this condition may seem clumsy or awkward.
- Skilled or talented: Many children with this condition are exceptionally talented or skilled in a particular area, such as music or math.
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Asperger’s: Asperger’s Case Study
This case involved an eighteen year old male who, during his first three years of life had experienced an onset of lethargy that became increasingly debilitating. He was often confined to bed during early adolescence. His parents noted that he had always demonstrated atypical posturing (excessive rocking, limping, rolling up into a ball) and that he was accident prone and often collided with objects and people. They also noted their son failed to demonstrate appropriate empathy, made poor eye contact and was oblivious to most social norms. They felt his awkwardness contributed to “hiding away in bed all the time,” and in their country of origin there were many stigmas which precluded them from having their son medically evaluated. After the family immigrated the boy was diagnosed with Asperger’s at age eight, upon enrollment into the U.S. public school system.
Thereafter the boy benefited from limited occupational therapy and also from receiving Irlen lenses, which helped minimize sensory overload associated with autism and Asperger’s, so much that he began to excel academically. Now the bilingual young man was about to start college as a mathematical engineering student. Among his parent’s chief concerns was their son’s inability to organize himself enough to adequately complete many adult daily living tasks. His disheveled appearance, continued lack of communication and difficulty in socializing worried his parents, who felt that, despite vast collections of music and books that kept their son busy all of the time, their son was a very lonely and dependent young man.
After he received a few neurofeedback training sessions the young man reported a new behavior, with prompting from his parents: he was smiling. As counseling and training continued the man slowly made gains in his ability to sort out meanings of spoken words more effectively than in the past, which was enabling him to socialize more appropriately. He reported that he was feeling more comfortable “making eye contact”. The man’s parent’s also reported that their son was “looking better”; was cleaning himself and brushing his teeth without prompting. Midway through treatment the man recognized and self-reported that he was ambulating differently, “walking better” because he was feeling “calmer and calmer”. He joined the swim team at school, to the amazement of his parents, who reported a long-standing aversion to water immersion. Toward the end of training the man had become significantly more autonomous and was considering learning how to drive.
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